The future is here, and technological advancements that were mere fruits of a wild imagination are now a reality. Some other products have reshaped our world in ways that not even renowned sci-fi writers could imagine.
Since ancient times, humans have dreamed and aspired to grow beyond our physical and and geographical limitations. We want to be stronger, faster, smarter - and in many ways, we already are.
Airplanes - and soon express space shuttles courtesy of Richard Branson - allow us to travel distances at speeds unthinkable for a 19th century person. With a touch of a smartphone screen one gains access to the knowledge of the entire world and any average individual can momentarily surpass a past century scholar. Our undying desire to become humans 2.0 have led to widespread popularity of a movement called transhumanism, of which yours truly is an advocate.
Transhumanism is an international philosophical movement that advocates for the transformation of the human condition by developing and making widely available sophisticated technologies to greatly enhance human intellect and physiology.
Now, make no mistake - all of the above technologies are augmentations. We are already cyborgs, albeit not in the traditional sci-fi sense of the word. The difference is the interface - all of this technology is so far external to our bodies. This is changing quickly and the next step is integration via a brain-computer interface with vast implications on day-to-day activities.
Workplace Of The Future
You know how businesses were freaking out when mobile phones went mainstream and people started bringing them to work, opening a whole new can of privacy and security complication worms? Then it resulted in variations of the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies and everything more or less calmed down.
Start anticipating the Bring Your Own Augmentation (BYOA) policies in the next decade, when that new millennial hire will show up with a 500TB 5G-enabled drive embedded behind their earlobe and feeding directly into their other wearables or even the brain.
Internet-connected HD eye prosthetics, self-patching medicare implants, artificial limbs and internal organs - all of these are here now. How do you control what technology your team brings to work, when your team is the technology?
Disability Or Super Ability?
Did you know that a person with carbon fiber blade-type leg prosthetics can run faster than most professional athletes? What about when an artificial arm is stronger than the one made of flesh and bone - is this still a disability? With rapidly advancing field of prosthetics, some are seriously starting to seem like a better option than the real thing, and this trend will only become more prominent.
With neural enhancements, ability to remotely and telepathically control your car, home, restaurant waiters and perhaps even mind-reading on the horizon, humanity may have a hard time distinguishing between what's an augmentation and what is a mere response to a crippling biological disadvantage.
Rise Of Artificial Intelligence
I'm talking, everywhere. Such is the nature of our technology that we seek to use it to make our everyday lives easier, more pleasant and exciting. Fiercely competitive business landscape these days encourages companies to one-up each other and make their products just this much better than that of their competitors.
So yes, jobs will be lost, basic income will likely be a thing and the remaining work will be more diverse and engaging due to the loss of everything repeatable to a supporting AI system.
Let's be clear: usable quantum computers will make current technology obsolete. Consider this 10-year-old-friendly explanation - typical computers operate in a binary manner, meaning there is no true multi-processing. Instead, a present day computer constantly switches between tasks creating an illusion of performing them at the same time. They do this using tiny chunks of information called bits, which can only be represented in memory as either 1 or 0. On or off.
Not the case with quantum computers. Using something called quantum superposition this technology operates in qubits (i.e. quantum bits. I know, it's not very creative) that can be 1, 0...or both simultaneously. Think about it this way: when you toss up a coin and while it is still in the air, is it heads or tails?
200 seconds vs 10,000 years
This has absolutely massive implications on computing speed, making quantum computers immensely faster than regular ones. How much faster? Let me answer with an example: Google's prototype quantum machine performed a computation in 200 seconds that would take the world's fastest supercomputer 10,000 years, Google researchers said in a blog post about the work. That's right, two hundred seconds vs ten thousand years.
Scared Enough Yet?
We live in an era of great change, technological progress and sociopolitical turmoil, which can be exciting and terrifying at the same time. Make no mistake, this is a pivotal period in the history of humanity where each of us has an unprecedented ability to make a global impact every day. Question is, will you be a spectator or a participant?
Managing Partner, Canada